Joint Replacement Surgery
When all medical treatments fail to help the patient, surgery is usually the last line of treatment. Joint replacement surgery is a highly effective way of treating joint pain, correcting a deformity, and helping improve the patient’s overall mobility (movement). Joint replacement surgery is also performed to treat advanced arthritis.
Who is a candidate for joint replacement surgery?
· People who often have severe joint pain, stiffness, limping, muscle weakness, limited motion and swelling.
· Depending on the joint that is affected and the amount of damage, patients may have trouble with ordinary activities such as walking, bending to pick things, put on socks and shoes, getting into and out of cars, and climbing stairs.
The most common causes of the weak and painful joints are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While nobody is certain what causes arthritis, several things may contribute to joint weakening and lead to arthritis, including:
- Heredity (if your family members have it)
- Problems with the development of the joint
- Minor repetitive injuries
- Severe trauma to the joint cartilage (the cushioning tissue at the end of the bones)
- While being overweight does not necessarily cause arthritis, it can contribute to early joint problems that can worsen quickly.
Joint replacement surgery is designed to replace the damaged cartilage and any bone loss. During the procedure, the damaged joint is resurfaced, and the patient's muscles and ligaments are used for support and function.
The prosthesis (replacement joint) is made of titanium, cobalt chrome, stainless steel, ceramic material, and polyethylene (plastic). It can be attached to the bone with acrylic cement or it can be press-fit, which allows bone to grow into the implant. Once the joint replacement is in place, the patient has physical therapy to be able to move and use the joint.
The three most common joint replacement surgeries are hip, knee, and shoulder.